Stories We Carry With Us

The path of least resistance and least trouble is a mental rut already made.
It requires troubles one work to undertake the alternation of old beliefs.”
                                                                                       -John Dewey

We all have stories we carry with us from our life experiences. These stories are based on events that happened in our lives from the time of our birth as well as stories that have been passed down over generations to us. These stories live within us. We are shaped by them. An interesting thing about these stories is that they may or may not be true to what actually happened. In addition, every story passed down is like the game of telephone we all played as children. As we pass them forward, they are slightly changed or altered by our perception of them and what is said to us. Another interesting thing is that we all view the same events that happened in which we were participants or observers differently. We all have a different perspective of the events, words, etc. And often we cling to our version of the stories which we use to defend who we are and sometimes to our detriment.

My father was a great storyteller. Some people are better than others and some people love telling stories and others don’t. My father loved telling them and was good at it. It doesn’t matter how true they were, they are good stories. With my father as with all of us, what actually happened is altered by his memory and perception of the events and the people involved. A story that sticks with me is a recent one that he told. There are so many it is hard to pick one. Dad loved the game of bridge. He experienced it as a game where by playing it, it helps to create a bridge to parts of the brain that otherwise are difficult to access. He played bridge as a young man with my mother, and then he played after mom passed away with a group in St. Louis, and then in Denver. As he told it, he was a wonderful bridge, player. He played with the most advanced group in St. Louis that has people in the club who play all over the world. When he first started playing with them, he was behind as he hadn’t played for over 30 years. He caught on and everyone wanted to play with him as their partner. Then, the people that ran the group used him to help to play with and teach others who were more beginners of the game. In his eyes, on one afternoon, he played his hand in such a unique way that he broke records of doubling the double, whatever that means. 

When it came time for him to move to Denver, we were able to get him involved in a group there in Denver which he enjoyed playing with. In order to find a good group for him, we called the bridge center in St. Louis and asked them what group and level would be best for him. They told us he would be best in a beginner’s group. Hearing that information stunned us; his children. We so wanted to believe him, and he could be so believable, that we truly thought he was a fantastic bridge, player. So we found a good beginners group for him to play with, and he did play there for a few months until he could no longer play this game he loved. He would get too angry and frustrated, so the group asked him to not play with them anymore. 

This story also reminds me of something that has been going around on the internet recently. There was a picture of a dress that some people saw as being the color of gold and white, and some people saw the dress as blue and black. There is such a difference in how we perceive things and people and words. Again, this is so shaped by how we think and how we are affected by our genetics as well as how perceive life. Are we black and white thinkers, or do we see things more globally in the relationship, which makes things many shades of gray? The stories we tell of us and our lives influences every choice we make and what we see. And, as we can change our story, we can change our lives for the better. 

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